Re: HandyDart riders feel left behind, June 13.
We see in the media that all transit – for both able-bodied and disabled transit users – has troubles and complaints.
For Access Transit: HandyDart, there are serious issues. The HandyDart budget has been frozen for three years while demand grows exponentially.
TransLink has given 10,000 hours of HandyDart service to taxis. Its contract allows for that. However, that does not make it either safe or correct for the clients.
This is an abuse and misuse of the allowed use of taxis. It was intended to replace a bus only when one is not available, thereby not leaving a client stranded or without a ride.
When taxis come for us, as Handydart users – instead of our bus – we miss the friendly driver’s arm escorting us to the door. This is also true for the rare times when we use taxi-savers.
We do not wish to denigrate taxi drivers, nor should anyone do that. It is to point out that because of the work conditions taxi drivers have – in order to make a living wage – they must put in as many rides as they can on their shift.
To meet HandyDart conditions would mean taxi drivers would have a lowered income, which might not meet their minimum needs for income.
We believe there is a need to have an audit or at least an inquiry into what public transit and Access Transit: Handydart users see as mismanagement.
John & Elizabeth Beeching, Vancouver